Liberty Women’s Lacrosse Team Continues to Prepare for Competition Amidst Uncertainty

As a hazy future looms in the distance, Liberty’s women’s lacrosse team continues to march forward, waiting for its next opportunity to compete after the unfortunate loss of a spring season.

As was the case with programs across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the team’s ability to practice and play games.

Flames Head Coach Kelly Nangle described the emotions that came with the loss of last season.

“It was really heartbreaking because it all just happened so fast and we were moving and grooving,” Nangle said. “We were six games in, coming out of a big stretch of games and we were ready to leave for our spring trip game the next day.”

Nangle said that the current trial fuels the team to work harder than ever.

“Every team is going to come out of this either better or worse,” Nangle said. “So, that got me thinking. We’ve just got to come out of this better and I really feel like we are.”

Nangle spoke about what the uncertain future means for the team.

“Things could change,” Nangle said. “Things could change two days before the game. So, we really have to be able to adapt and adjust more than ever before.”

Senior Mia Toscano also spoke about how the pandemic blurs the team’s outlook for how next season will play out.

“The biggest challenge for our team would be the protocols that are with COVID,” Toscano said. “We don’t know how travelling, how all of that will work out.”

In the midst of the uncertainty and doubt, the team works tirelessly to ensure that it does everything in its power to stay on track for next season, including wearing masks and social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. Players and staff credit the university for how it has handled COVID-19 related issues.

“What I’m thankful for is our trainer and our staff being ahead of it, so we had a plan in place from the very beginning,” Nangle said.

Nangle willingly complies to any rules set by the university, as compliance could increase the likelihood of next season becoming a reality.

“This might be weird, but it means we can keep playing so we’re going to embrace it,” Nangle said.

Despite the virus, the team continues to find ways to grow together, and scrimmages offer an opportunity for that. The team meets every Saturday to participate in an inter-team scrimmage.

“I think (scrimmaging has) been one of the best things for our team,” freshman Kelly Scott said. “Every girl on the team has grown as a player because we get to play a full two hours, which is so uncommon that every girl on the team gets to play so much.”

Nangle expressed gratitude at the opportunity to continue to work with the team while the pandemic continues. “I’m really thankful to be at a place that’s allowing us to practice,” Nangle said. “So, we’ve had a fairly normal fall considering what other teams are going through.”

Scott foresees a strong season for Liberty because of the extra experience provided by the scrimmages.

“We have a really good chance of winning the ASUN Championship because the scrimmages are a really big part of this fall as a lot of teams are not doing what we’re doing,” Scott said.

The team has also been able to connect with each other in ways that would have been impossible in other seasons. Nangle explained that since the team all endured the same trial, it bonded them together.

“You don’t usually have adversity that every single player on the team has gone through,” Nangle said. “You have injuries, you have these types of things that maybe certain kids can connect because they’ve been there. All of them, even our freshmen, this happened to them their senior year of high school, so they went through it. There’s a bond that you can’t replicate and it’s been cool to watch them go through it.”

Nangle emphasized the importance of appreciating every opportunity to play. Losing last season just reinforces the joy derived from the current season and practices – regardless of if her players get a chance to play a season this spring.

“Every day is a blessing, and every day we remember, man, we’re so lucky to be out here,” Nangle said.

Christian Shields is a Sports Reporter.

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